Hello again all. After a couple missed play dates due to weather and sick kids, I managed to meet up with my friend codename "Lord" for another game of DUST Battlefield. This time we shook things up a little and used the DUST Warfare battle builder from Operation Zverograd to come up with a mission. We ended up with "Symbolic Victory" which is a lot like the old "Hold the Point" 40k mission: whoever holds the center point at the end of the game (by having the higher damage capacity worth of models within 12") wins. We also got "Advancing Lines" for deployment, which meant we each deployed in a 9" zone. We actually needed to interpret that a little as in DUST Battlefield we have a Meeting Engagement ruel, so it ended up that we just moved on from our long table edges.
We had 150 points for our lists, and I had recently painted up my Type 4 Steel Guard. So I took the Steel Guard Platoon (can still move as their first action if suppressed) with some heavy reinforcements. As you can see it is a pretty small list of just 11 Type 4 infantry models and 5 vehicles.
SSU Steel Guard Platoon:
Red Steel-SSU (150pts)
The Lord decide to take an Axis Heavy Grenadier Platoon (can reactivate a unit or hits or crosshairs) with support. Here is his list as best I recall, including 21 Type 3 heavy infantry.
Turn One: The Steel Tornado advance toward the center. I guessed that, with my lack of numbers, I would need to crowd the center early and try to win the battle of attrition. The circular platform with the hatch leading to a secret Vrill facility served as our center point.
The Flak Boys take up a central position in the woods, but receive fire from the Natasha and the Stalin tank, killing two.
SSU reinforcements pile onto the board. Pay no attention to the gorgeous Bolt Action table in the background.
Acis forces take up positions in cover while the Matrioshka hides behind a building, planning to exert board control later. The Steel Wall follow behind.
Heavy weapons teams populate the woods with decent firing solutions. The heavy command and one Lothar hide behind the woods. As does the Steel Guard Command opposite, behind the trees. More heavy infantry and another Lothar lurk behind the building on the right.
The Death Rays light up Natasha with a first shot and then a reactivation on the first turn, leaving a wreck.
The Striker does a little damage to the Ghosts recon team, but takes heavy fire from the massive Sturmkoenig, just barely surviving.
Turn two: SSU get initiative and the Striker moves behind some woods to get out of the LOS of the Sturmkoenig. It manages to finish the last Flak Boy and bring the Death Rays laser squad under fire.
The Ghosts bring panzerfausts to bear on the Matrioshka, destroying it. The Steel Wall fail their reactive attack to try to stop this tragedy for the Motherland.
In what will become a long list of grievances, the Steel Tornado fall to an artillery barrage from the Lothar, directed by observers. They fail three rolls on three hits. Sad comrade is sad.
Then the Sturmkoenig finishes off the Striker...
SSU armor advances despite the heavy casualties, but only manages a single casualty on the unit of Death Rays in the center.
Turn 3: The Stalin tank advances to the center, spewing flames on the Panzers in the building and firing all guns, but causing only one casualty. The Type 3 Heavy Grenadiers did very well with their cover plus infantry saves backed by their damage resilience ability.
Turns 4-5: The SSU command fail to bring on a reinforcement unit. The Stalin tank engages the Sturmkoenig but it makes a cover save and takes no damage.
Finally after many attempts the sole Death Ray in the center manages to destroy the Stalin tank. The Lord made good use of reactivating his units for extra shots, which is quite devastating with a heavy laser weapon.
The SSU forces are devastated, and the SSU commander calls for a retreat as the situation is unsalvageable. Axis units swarm the objective area.
Only the Beria tank and two Steel Guard command remain alive for the SSU at the end. Conversely, the Axis lost only the Flak Boys unit although they lost 4 other heavy grenadiers and 3 Ghosts.
Conclusion: A crushing defeat for the SSU as the Steel Guard are almost annihilated! What went wrong for the SSU? Well, for starters there were some very bad dice rolls for the Steel Guard saves, many failed damage resilience rolls, and failed command rolls. The Axis player made excellent use of cover, reactivations, and superior firepower to neutralize SSU threats one after another, and ultimately converged a large number of units on the center of the board to prevent any hope of an SSU victory with the meager forces remaining. My congratulations to the Lord, he certainly deserved his victory.
As an aside, I also think the Steel Guard are probably overcosted for what they can do. They are not really any better than the Type 3 infantry, in some ways are worse (generally firepower and staying power!) and cost more points. Anyway, my point is not too complain too much here, but I am less than impressed with the SSU Steel Guard for the points. Or should I say I think the Axis Type 3 are fantastic for theirs?
Watch this space as I try to come up with some better SSU lists for future battles. We will probably try playing the new Operation Babylon missions as Battlefield missions next for some occult drama in the desert! Will the Axis secure the Vrill technology and be able to save the world? Will the SSU secure enough knowledge to bring about world revolution and eternal peace and freedom! Tune in next time to find out! We are having a great time with DUST Battlefield.